Updated: Jan 3, 2020
When it comes to natural resources, we humans behave as though reinforcements are coming. We mine minerals as though there were an infinite supply. We burn fossil fuels as though there were no consequence and fresh, breathable air is unaffected by our actions. We remove large spaces such as Florida’s Everglades because we can, while ruining the natural drainage and filtration systems which have cleansed our drinking water for thousands of years.
The plain truth is we have the same vast yet limited resources on Earth that were here when the Earth was formed more than a trillion years ago.
Did you realize that we have the exactly same amount of drinkable water that primitive humans drank from a million years ago? So even though there is no new water being created for an Earth thousands of times more populated, today we waste and pollute millions of gallons every day as if more potable water will miraculously appear.
We got all we’re gonna get and not a drop more.
Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” So we have to make the most of the resources available to us, natural and human. We have to make do with what we have.
Unlike natural resources that are limited (there is only so much gold, coal, water, and so forth on the Earth), human resources are often more deceptive: there is more “resource” in a human than one might think at first. I would go so far as to say that we generally do a pretty poor job of making the most of the human resources we have.
What do I mean? I mean we are satisfied with mediocre and sub-par performance from the human resources we have. I mean that our leadership is overly focused on punishment for non-performance that we have done little with reward for good performance. As a result, our human resources could produce more if the right leadership was more prevalent.
Yes, if we motivate and then educate others, we can generate dormant resources.
I know a few things about making do with available human resources. After a national search, I was elated to win my first school principal job in another state. That district had not hired an out-of-state principal for at least 40 years, so eyebrows were raised. I was a complete unknown in a school community where I was the boss. You can imagine that other principals and communities were waiting for The New Kid to fall flat on his face.
Like any principal new to a school, my first school had students I didn’t invite, a faculty I did not hire, and a community who knew nothing of me.
I had to do what I could, with what I had, where I was.
Within two years, achievement was up, fighting was down, and innovative programming for all students was on the rise. By all accounts, we were a successful high school on the move to even greater heights.
Strong performance comes from generating excitement and innovation from doing what you can, with what resources you have, in the community where you are.
The definition of “generate” is to cause an emotion or situation to arise or come about. If you are going to lead well, you have to generate a fresh situation and an emotionally moving new reality.
I had to motivate my students, my faculty, and the school community. I had to educate everyone on why some changes were both needed and wanted. We were then, and only then, able to generate our achievement and innovation.
M + E = G. Motivate+ Educate = Generate
There it is: you can’t generate something fresh, new, and emotionally moving without motivating your stakeholders (that’s almost everyone if you are a school principal!) and educating them to understand and adapt to the new reality.
The generation of momentum comes after motivation and commitment (education) are combined and unleashed.
There is no other way to unlock the full potential of our human resources!
©️Copyright by David Samore. Excerpts in part or whole may not be used without the expressed permission of David Samore.